Thursday, March 12, 2009

Appeal For Assistance to Delegation Attending the World Conference Against Racism Durban Review II

March 11, 2009

Friends and Comrades:

I hope you willing to support our participation at the Durban Review Conference in Geneva, a follow up to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001. Your tax-deductible contribution will make it possible for us to attend.

Here are the details about the Conference and what we aim to accomplish there.

The United Nations is convening the DRC, April 20-25, 2009, to assess the progress and plan how to overcome the many remaining obstacles hindering the elimination of racism as outlined in the Durban Declaration and Program of Action.

That Action Plan is a comprehensive document that covers prevention-education-and protection strategies and specific measures to eliminate racism, in all its forms, against indigenous peoples, people of African descent, migrants, displaced people and others. The document includes a focus on gender-based violence and trafficking, racial profiling and a call for reparations.

(For more information on the DRC and the 2001 Plan of Action visit

All the UN member states—except for the United States and Israel—as well as hundred’s of advocacy and activist organizations, will be represented in Geneva. The Obama Administration has chosen to boycott the DRC, because it rejects the Plan of Action’s support for Palestinians’ right to self-determination and the call for reparations to people of African descent.

Despite the symbolism of the presidential election of the first person of African descent, and its perceived representation of progress towards ending racism, there has been no shortage of blatant acts of racial discrimination throughout the country. For example, since Obama’s election in November 2008:

Several overt incidents of racial profiling lead to the deaths of two African American youth, Oscar Grant in Oakland, California and Adolph Grimes in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 31st, 2008 and January 1st, 2009 respectively.

Over 30,000 Haitians immigrants have been denied [TEMPORARY] refugee status and have been ordered deported, continuing decades of discriminatory policies against Haiti and Haitian refugees.

Overt racist depictions and commentary are rampant in all media forms since the inauguration, highlighted by the February 18th cartoon in the New York Post depicting the assassination of President Barack Obama characterized as a Chimpanzee.

Systemic, institutionalized racism has persisted. For example, refusal to reverse devastation of predatory loans in Black and Brown Communities, continuing escalation of mass incarceration of Black and Brown people, disproportional unemployment, etc.

Unconditional U.S. support for Israel despite calls across the globe for sanctions to stop the siege on Gaza.

The U.S.’s boycott of the DRC is an attempt to evade criticism for its shallow commitment towards the elimination of racism. Human rights advocates must not sit idly by and allow the Obama administration to get away with this hypocritical action. It is, therefore, especially important that we attend to emphasize the on-going struggle of oppressed people inside the U.S.

This is especially urgent given the spiraling economic meltdown. In times of economic crisis, if we don’t champion human rights for Black and Brown people, we will not only suffer disproportionately from economic disaster, but become easy targets for scapegoating.

At the conference, we plan to advocate for international support for the struggles against racism here inside the U.S. and expose the hypocrisy of the Obama administration regarding its stance on the DRC. We are also committed to diligently reporting on the Conference so that even if the corporate press ignores it, people and organizations inside the U.S. will benefit from detailed information about the proceedings.

We estimate we will need $8,000 to cover travel and accommodation expenses for six comrades who will represent Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, United against Racism and Zionism, and Pambazuka News in Geneva. As soon as possible, please make your tax-deductible donations to Community Aid and Development, Inc.

Mail to P.O. Box 31762 Jackson, MS 39286. Given the relatively short timeframe, we respectfully ask everyone to email or call 510.593.3956 and inform us of your contribution and its amount so we may adequately budget. Also don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like more information. We greatly appreciate your solidarity and support.


Jahahara Alkebulan-Maat, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America
Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Arlene Eisen, Veteran Anti-Imperialist Activist and author of “Women in Viet Nam”
Sacajawea Hall, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Monadel Herzallah, US Palestinian Community Network
Sara Kershnar, International Jewish anti-Zionist Network

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